Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cargo blues

Seems I might have spoken a bit too soon last night when I said things were locked in and looking good for Italy. We had a hiccup this morning. It's fixed now, but it did give a few hours of stress and we're still not happy with the results.

And the sources of the stress? Air Canada.

How good of an airline is that? They can stress you out even when you go out of your way not to fly with them. Folks, mock them all you want, but that takes skill.

We're flying Continental Airlines on this trip. Why? Well, they had the shortest travel time: Ottawa to Newark, a 3 hour layover, then direct to Rome. One airline had us waiting in Germany for six hours. They were also the cheapest option. Yes, there were cheaper - but it would have involved flying Zoom Airlines or using Ryanair out of London. I am also paranoid about bargin airlines. Besides, most of them really aren't bargains by the time you add all the fees. So your trip is that much more uncomfortable and inconvienent just to save a $100 or so. No thanks.

The third reason we flew Continental? It wasn't Air Canada. Plus, we've used Continental for several trips now and have found them to be mostly reliable and easy to deal with.

But as for how Air Canada managed to make out life difficult....well, that would be because of Boo.

We're taking bozo to Ottawa with us and then sending him back to St. John's to stay with Cathy's folks for the summer. Cathy's going home for a month after Italy, so she can escort him back. But in terms of getting him from Ottawa to St. John's, well, that required the use of Air Canada Cargo.

Because Cathy is that organized, a month ago she called to see if she could book him passage. A very nice man said that she would have to wait a month before he travels, but that it should be no problem, there was a flight leaving Ottawa at 8 pm and gets into St. John's at midnight. Reassured, Cathy marked the date in her dayplanner and we booked our Italy tickets knowing Boo could make it back to St. John's no problem.

This morning, Cathy calls Air Canada Cargo to book passage. Except there is no 8 pm flight. There's a 6:30 flight, but we have to get Boo there two hours before departure. Not possible since our flight doesn't arrive in Ottawa until 5 pm. Oh, and we're told there are no cargo flights that can take dogs that weekend.

Cathy does a small freakout. As anyone might. We resolve to try again later, just in case this guy was as clueless as the one Cathy spoke to a month ago.

Cathy tries calling again, gets another person and we get a third result. No, there's no way to get him on a flight that Friday. Although not because of the check-in time, but because there would be no one to take care of him when he arrives in St. John's at midnight. However, we can send him on Saturday morning. He leaves 7 am and arrives in St. John's at 5 pm. They will take him out of his cage to walk him and give him food and water, but that's the best they can do.

I'm tempted to call back a fourth time, just to see what will happen. I almost guarentee we will get a different answer.

By the way, we're paying about $200 to send Boo home, one way.

Remind me again why it was a good thing Air Canada survived bankruptcy about a decade ago? I'm having a hard time recalling.

Last Five
1. Honey pie - The Beatles
2. The grim trucker - Ron Sexsmith
3. Twisted logic - Coldplay
4. Erase/replace - Foo Fighters
5. Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie*

1 comment:

Ron Knowling said...

Hey Guy:

It cost me $1500 to send Harley and Emmie from St. John's to Winnipeg last year. Not to mention that I had to buy them each a carrier case which added about $500 onto the cost. Fortunately the flights were fairly direct so there were not foolish complications with scheduling such as you are experiencing. I would double check on the "water and walk" promise. That sounds like something above and beyond the call of duty for Air Canada.